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Design

How to Make an Event Flyer for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

by
Difficulty:BeginnerLength:LongLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Looking for your next promotional material? In this tutorial, we create an MLK flyer design that can double as a flyer template for any future events. 

Whether you're a designer or not, this tutorial on how to make a flyer is easy to follow. Event flyers are great for promoting upcoming social get-togethers, and this one is great if you want to keep it as a template. In this tutorial, we will look at basic tools in Adobe InDesign to create a flyer. You will see how easy it is to customize and change up the images for future use. 

Don't have the time and need a flyer right away? Take a look at our amazing InDesign Flyer Templates and other InDesign templates over at Envato Elements or GraphicRiver.

What You Will Need

You'll need access to Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator—if you don't have the software, you can download a trial from the Adobe website. You'll also need these assets:

Download the assets and make sure the font is installed on your system before starting. When you're ready, we can dive in! 

1. Setting Up a New InDesign File

Step 1

In InDesign, go to File > New. Name the document MLK event flyer. We will create a Letter size brochure template. Set the file to the following dimensions:

  • Width to 8.5 in
  • Height to 11 in 
  • Orientation to Portrait
  • Uncheck Facing Pages
  • Margins to 0.5 in 
  • Bleeds to 0.125 in (it's best to seek your professional printer’s preference).

Click Create.

Create a new InDesign file

Step 2

Before we start with the design, let’s organize the color swatches. This step is essential if you want to keep this flyer as a template for future use. Head over to Window > Color > Swatches to expand the Swatches panel. Select the default swatches, Right-Click > Delete Swatch.

Choose New Color Swatch button from the main menu. Add the following colors:

  • Blue: C=0 M=90 Y=100 K=0
  • Red: C=100 M=60 Y=0 K=80

Click Add after you input each color value. Click Done.

Add color swatches

2. How to Add Typography in Your Flyer Design

Step 1

On the toolbar, select the Rectangle Tool (M). Click on the document and set the Width to 8.75 in and the Height to 11.25 in.

On the Swatches panel, set the color to blue. This will be the background of the flyer, and in order for it to stay put, we will lock it. Select the rectangle and press Command-L to Lock. To Unlock, press Option-Command-L.

Create a rectangle as a background

Step 2

On the toolbar, select the Polygon Tool. If you can’t see it, hold click on the Rectangle Tool button and select the Polygon Tool from the dropdown menu. Click on the document to open the Polygon option window. Change the settings to the following:

  • Polygon Width: 1 in
  • Polygon Height: 1 in
  • Number of Sides: 5
  • Star Inset: 50%

Click OK.

On the Swatches panel, set the color to [Paper].

Create a star using the polygon tool

Step 3

We want to create a row of stars, so we will be duplicating the object multiple times. Select the star and Right-Click > Transform > Move. In the Move option window, set the Position Horizontal to 0.25 in. Click Copy. 

Using the move option duplicate the star

Press Option-Command-4 to Transform Sequence Again. Repeat this action until you’ve created a row of stars that fits within the margins of the flyer.

Select all the stars and group them by pressing Command-G. To Ungroup, press Option-Command-G. We will use these stars later, so let’s move them downwards.

Create a row of stars by transforming the sequence

Step 4

Select the Text Tool (T) from the toolbar. Draw a text box that fits from margin to margin. Add a copy—in this case, we can add the name of an organizer. 

Head over to the Control bar and set the Font to Config Alt, Font Family to Bold, Size to 10 pt, and the text box to Align Center. You can also do this by going to the Character panel (Window > Type & Tables > Character Panel) or Paragraph panel (Window > Type & Tables > Paragraph Panel).

Using the text tool add the new of the organizer

Step 5

We will use some of the stars to go on each side of the text. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select seven stars from each side of the row. Hold down Shift to make multiple selections. 

Press Command-C to Copy and Command-V to Paste. Press Command-G to Group the new set of stars and place them on the text. 

Using the direct selection tool select 7 stars from each side of the row of stars Duplicate to position on each side of the text

Step 6

Select the Text Tool (T), and draw a text box that fits the width of the margin. In this case, let’s add the name of the event. Using uppercase letters, add Martin Luther King Day. Divide the text into three lines. 

Head over to the Control bar and set the Font to Config Alt and the Font Family to Extra Bold. Set the Size to 120, the Leading to 92 pt, and the Tracking to -20. Set the paragraph to Align Center.

Add an event title

Step 7

To convert the text into an image frame, we need to convert it to outlines first. Select the text box, and head over to Text > Convert to Outlines. Press Shift-Command-G to Ungroup the text. Head over to the Pathfinder panel and press the Add button.

Convert to outlines ungroup and use the add pathfinder button to convert into a frame

Step 8 

Locate the Vintage American flag background .jpg file and open it in Adobe Photoshop.

On the Layers panel, select Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast. Double-click on the layer thumbnail circle to open the Properties panel. Set the Contrast to 100. 

open the flag image in photoshop and add a contrast layer

Step 9

Press Command-S to Save the file. Save a .psd or .tiff format—these two hold a better image quality. It is also useful if you would like to keep editing the image later. Click Save. 

Save the file as a psd or tiff file

Step 10

Let’s go back to the InDesign file. While selecting the text, press Command-D and find the Vintage American flag background in .psd form. Click Open. 

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the flag image. Head over to the Control panel and activate the Constrain Proportion for Scaling button. Set the Percentage to 60%. Position the flag to show only the red parts through the letter. The reason behind this is to make the text readable. 

In the image below, you can see that I’m using the right-hand side of the image.

On the ID file select the text and place the image

Step 11

Using the Text Tool (T), draw a text box under the main title that fits the width of the margin. For this tutorial, I will be adding “Walk & Celebration” in uppercase letters. 

Head over to the Control panel and set the Font to Config Alt, Font Family to Semi Bold, Size to 40 pt, and Tracking to 120. 

Add a subtitle or a tagline to the title

Step 12

We will be using this text as another frame. Press Shift-Command-O to Create Outlines. Because this text is on a single line, we don’t need to repeat the process of grouping and ungrouping as in the main title.

Press Command-D to Place an image. Select the flag .psd file and click Open. 

Because the text is smaller, we need to make it as legible as possible. Select the image with the Direct Selection Tool (A). Head over to the Control panel and set the Rotation Angle to -10°. Using the arrows on your keyboard or your mouse, move the image until you are able to find the cream-colored parts of the image. Below, you can see the flag image outlined in brown.

Convert the text into outlines and place the flag image

Step 13

Using the Text Tool (T), add two text boxes to include the time and address of the event. Set the time to Bold, and set the Size to 40 pt and the Tracking to -25. Set the address Size to 15.5 pt. Place both of these text boxes next to each other, leaving a gap in between.

Using the text tool add a time and address of the event Leaving a gap in between

Step 14

Duplicate the stars row by pressing Shift-Option and dragging. Place one row over the time and address and the other below. This is where the Smart Guides (View > Grids & Guides > Smart Guides) become useful as they will let you know about the even space between the objects. 

Duplicate the row of stars and place on top and bottom of the text

Step 15

Using the Polygon Tool, draw a star to fit between the time and address. Click on the document to open the Polygon option window. Set the Width and Height to 0.2 in. Set the Number of Sides to 5 and the Star Inset to 50%. Click OK.

On the Swatches panel, set the Color to [Paper]. 

Using the polygon tool create a star to add in between the gap of the time and address

3. How to Create a Round Photo in Your Flyer Design

Step 1

Head over to the toolbar and select the Ellipse Tool (L). Click on the document to open the Ellipse option window, and set the Width and Height to 1.4 in. Click OK. You can use any color as we will be filling it in with an image later on.

Create another circle using the Ellipse Tool (L). This time, set the Width and Height to 1.6 in. On the Swatches panel, set the Fill color to [None] and the Stroke color to [Paper]. Open the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke), and set the Weight to 1 pt.

To align these two objects, open the Align panel. Select both and select the Align Horizontal Center and Align Vertical Center buttons. 

Create two circles using the ellipse tool One with an outline and one solid Use the align panel to align them

Step 2

Duplicate both objects by pressing Shift-Option and dragging. Do this twice to fit a total of three images.

Select each inside circle and press Command-D to Place an image. Add the following images:  

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), resize each image to fit the circle. Ideally, each person’s head should be the same size.

Duplicate the set of circles twice Place images in each set

Step 3

Using the Text Tool (T), draw a text box under each circle to add names and descriptions. On the Control panel, set the first line's Font to Config Alt, Font Family to Bold, and Size to 12 pt. 

On the Swatches panel, set the color of the first line to red and the second line to [Paper]. 

Add text to each set of circles

Step 4

Use the Align panel to align the text and images to Horizontal Center. Group each circle object, image and text by selecting them and pressing Command-G. This will make it easier to spread them across the page evenly in the next step.

Group each set of circles with a text box

Step 5

Place the second set of objects in the center of the page. Head over to the Align panel and set the Align to option to Align to Page. Select the Align Horizontal Center button.

Align the second group of objects with the center of the page

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), draw a rectangle to fit from the edge of the page to the left edge of the middle circle. 

Select the rectangle and the first grouped object. On the Align panel, set the Align to option to Align to Selection. Select the Align Horizontal Center button.

Move the rectangle to the right-hand side of the page and repeat the procedure for the last grouped object. When you are done, delete the rectangle. 

Create a rectangle that will help you align the first and third grouping of objects

Step 6

Using the Line Tool (\), draw a line to fit the width of the margin on the bottom of the page. Set the Stroke Weight to 1 pt. Set the stroke color on the Swatches panel to [Paper]. 

Using the Text Tool (T), draw a text box under the line and add contact information. Set the Size to 10 pt and the Tracking to 200.  

I am adding em spaces between the information, followed by a star. Em spaces are larger spaces than a regular space. Add Em spaces by pressing Shift-Command-M. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select one of the smaller stars we created. Press Command-C to Copy and Command-V to Paste it between the spaces. Do this as if you were normally copying text in a frame.

Create a line at the bottom of the flyer and using the text tool add contact information

4. How to Export a File for Printing

Before exporting a file for printing, is useful to take a look around the edges of each page. Make sure all the objects that are meant to bleed out of the image are touching the bleeds. 

Step 1

To export the file, go to File > Export. Name the file MLK Event Flyer and choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the Format dropdown menu. Click Save. 

Save the file as an Adobe PDF print file

Step 2

In the Export Adobe PDF window, set the Adobe PDF Preset to Press Quality.

Select Press Quality as a preset

On the left side of the panel, select Marks and Bleeds. Check All Printer’s Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings. Click Export. You will have a ready-to-print PDF file.

Check the Marks and bleeds and document bleed settings options

Great Job! You’ve Finished This Tutorial!

In this tutorial, you learned how to create a ready-to-print promotional event flyer. We looked at key tools to create a template that will be easy to customize with small tweaks. Today, you’ve learned to:

  • create a ready-to-print Adobe InDesign file
  • use the Swatches panel to add color swatches
  • align objects with the Align panel
  • use the different shape tools (ellipse, rectangle, polygon)
  • export a ready-to-print PDF file

If you would like to explore some promotional template ideas, you can find many customizable flyers and brochures over at Envato Elements and Graphic River. Check it out!

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